A Wolf and A Sow

A Wolf came to a Sow and offered to baby sit. “Thank you but no thank you,” said the Sow.

An enemy is most dangerous when offering you help.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Sow had just farrowed, and lay in the sty with her whole litter of pigs about her. A Wolf who longed for a little one but knew not how to come by it, endeavoured to insinuate herself in the good opinion of the mother. “How do you find yourself today, Mrs. Sow?” said she. “A little fresh air would certainly do you great good. Now, do go abroad and air yourself a little, and I will with pleasure mind your young ones till you return.” “Many thanks for your offer, replied the Sow. “I know very well what kind of care you would take of my little ones. If you really wished to be as obliging as you pretend to be, you would not show me your face again.”

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Sow and the Wolf)

Croxall - Sow and WolfA Sow had just farrowed, and lay in the stye with her whole litter of pigs. about her. A Wolf, who longed for one of them, but knew not how to come at it, endeavoured to insinuate himself into the Sow’s good opinion. And, accordingly, coming up to her, How does the good woman of the straw do? says he. Can I be of any service to you, Mrs. Sow, in relation to your little family here? If you have a mind to go abroad, and air yourself a little or so, you may depend upon it I will take as much care of your Pigs as you could do yourself. Your humble servant, says the Sow, I thoroughly understand your meaning; and, to let you know I do, I must be so free as to tell you, I had rather have your room than your company; and therefore, if you would act like a Wolf of honour, and oblige me, I beg I may never see your face again.


The being officiously good natured and civil, is something so uncommon in the world, that one cannot hear a man make profession of it, without being surprised, or at least suspecting the disinterestedness of his intentions. Especially, when one who is a stranger to us, or though known, is ill esteemed by us, will be making offers of services we have a great reason to look to ourselves, and exert a shyness and coldness towards him. We should resolve not to receive even favours from bad kind of people; for, should it happen that some immediate mischief was not couched in them, yet it is dangerous to have obligations to such, or give them an opportunity of making a communication with us.

Whittingham - Sow and Wolf

C. Whittingham (1814)

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A wolf came to a sow that was just lying down, and very kindly offer’d to take care of her litter. The sow as civily thank’d her for her love, and desir’d she would be pleas’d to stand off a little, and do her the good office at a distance.


There are no snares so dangerous as those that are laid for us under the name of good offices.

1001Sus Parturiens et Lupus

Parturiebat sus; pollicetur lupus se custodem fore fetus. Respondet puerpera lupi obsequio se non egere, oratque, si velit pius haberi, longius abeat; lupi enim benevolentia constabat non praesentia, sed absentia.


Non sunt cuncta cunctis credenda; multi enim suam operam pollicentur non tui amore, sed sui, suum quaerentes commodum, non tuum.

Perry #547